Independent journalist Alex Berenson sued Twitter after the platform banned him over what it said was Covid “misinformation.” On Friday, a judge ruled against Twitter’s motion to dismiss the case, meaning the lawsuit can proceed.
Berenson was banned for claiming that Covid vaccines are an advanced therapeutic carrying risky side effects.
The lawsuit against Twitter will proceed following Friday’s ruling; however, Berenson’s claim that the platform violated his First Amendment free speech rights was dismissed as, “the free speech clause only prohibits government abridgement of speech – plaintiff concedes Twitter is a private company.”
We obtained a copy of the judge’s decision for you here.
“For an internet platform like Twitter, Section 230 precludes liability for removing content and preventing content from being posted that the platform finds would cause its users harm, such as misinformation regarding COVID-19,” the judge wrote in the ruling.
Still, Twitter has to defend its decision to ban Berenson.
Berenson claims that Twitter did not apply its content rules fairly.
“Collectively, these actions plausibly qualify as a clear and unambiguous promise that Twitter would correctly apply its COVID-19 misinformation policy and try to give advance notice if it suspended plaintiff’s account,” the judge wrote in the ruling.
The judge also noted that “any ambiguities in a contract like Twitter’s terms of service are interpreted against the drafter, Twitter.”
The lawsuit has also entered the discovery phase: “Defendant shall produce all texts, emails, voicemails, statements, and other documents pertaining to plaintiff, including but not limited to nonparty complaints or inquiries about plaintiff and / or including possible or actual termination of his account or a strike against his account or a labeling of any of his posts,” the judge wrote.